Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images
The Washington Capitals are going to the Stanley Cup Finals. That just sounds nice. They did it by shutting out the Tampa Bay Lightning in game 7 by a score of 4-0. You heard that right, the Capitals won a game 7 and did it without making it nervously close. Let’s take a look at the numbers for the historic win.
[All numbers provided by Natural Stat Trick and Money Puck. Numbers are adjusted. (Click graphic to enlarge)]
As the numbers show, the Capitals didn’t do too hot. They weren’t dominated, but they never really brought it to the Lightning. But it’s important to remember that the Caps scored nearly a minute into a game 7 while playing away, so the Lightning had to press hard and early.
It was noticeable to the eyes as well, that the 2nd period was by far the Caps worst period in terms of zone play. The Lightning took it to them and the boys in red were lucky they weren’t scored on a couple times.
How many times have we been through a game 7 where we utterly dominated, then the opponent just went down and scored? The answer is too many. The hockey gods smiled upon us for once.
This heat map really tells the story. The Capitals never really got too close to the Tampa net, but neither did they get close to our net. Though they definitely owned the mid slot.
Braden Holtby was strong as usual. At the end of the day, the Capitals capitalized on their chances and the Lightning didn’t. Again, how many times have we been on the wrong side of that coin? It’s about time we came out on top.
The expected goals adjusted look much better for the Caps. The 1st period was even before Tampa really took it to the Caps in the 2nd. But look at that 3rd period! With everything on the line, the Capitals held Tampa to nothing over half the period, and even when they started to build, it led to nothing.
The Capitals on the other hand pushed and brought their expected goals from 1.1 to 2.0 in 20 minutes time. The Lightning only went from 1.9 to 2.2. Just an amazing period by the boys in red to close it out.
Once again our captain showed up to lead his team. Alexander Ovechkin scored just over a minute into the game and they never looked back. The 3rd line also made an impact, obviously, with Andre Burakovsky’s and his two clutch goals. The 2nd line was oddly shelled in their own zone a lot, but that will happen. The other lines made up for it.
And that was that. A great series for the Capitals, but the main prize is just 4 wins away. They need to take all of their stellar play and bring it with them to Las Vegas to get off to a strong start.
By Luke Adomanis
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